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Guzzlers or Godsends?

Media release
7 July 2008

Guzzlers or Godsends?

There is no better time to buy a big car despite rising fuel prices, according to Turners Auctions, New Zealand’s leading car sales channel.

And consumers looking to save money on fuel costs by trading down to a smaller car are in for a shock, says Turners General Manager Marketing Todd Hunter.

Not only do they trade the comfort, safety and performance of their big car for one with less room, they lose money on the deal, says Mr Hunter.

“Rapidly rising fuel prices are impacting on our traditional love affair with big cars. However perceptions of large cars as gas guzzlers don’t equate with the facts and prices on larger cars have plunged as buyers opt for smaller models,” he says.

In 2005, a three-year-old Holden Commodore Acclaim with a 3.8 litre engine and 60,000km on the clock would have cost $18,200. Today, a similar car would cost $13,500.

A three-year-old Ford Falcon XR6 with a 3.9 litre engine and 60,000km on the clock would have cost $19,200 in 2005. Today, the same car is worth $14,500.

A Toyota Camry Altise, with a 2.3 litre engine and a similar mileage, would have cost $13, 683 in 2005. A similar car today would cost $13,500.

For drivers looking to downsize, it just doesn’t add up, says Mr Hunter. A driver looking to downsize from the bigger Ford Falcon to a smaller Toyota Camry or similar would lose $4,700 on the sale to save approximately $12 a week in petrol.

“For the slight premium I may pay in fuel costs per year, the larger cars like the Commodore and Falcon are incredibly good value at the moment. People are completely over-estimating the amount they may save by trading down.”

A driver would save just $590 a year by downsizing from a 3.9 litre Ford Falcon XR6 to a 1.8 litre Toyota Corolla GL Hatch for example, according to figures provided by the Fuelsaver website run by Land Transport NZ. The figures are based on a driver covering 14,000kms in a year.

Kiwis, especially those with families who traditionally prefer larger cars for their performance, safety and roominess, should think twice before succumbing to panic over rising fuel prices and downsizing, says Mr Hunter, who points out that fuel consumption is also affected by driving habits.

Conversely, there has never been a better time to buy a bigger car, says Mr Hunter.


Supporting data

Make & Model / Engine Size / Est. Fuel Price per Year / Per Week Cost
Holden Commodore Berlina / 3.6 litre / $2,870 / $55
Ford Falcon XR6 / 3.9 litre / $2,980 / $57
Mazda 3 / 2.0 litre / $2,230 / $43
Toyota Camry Altise / 2.3 litre / $ 2,280 / $44
Toyota Corolla GL / 1.8 litre / $1,990 / $38
Source: Fuel Saver Website,

About Turners
Turners Auctions is New Zealand's leading car sales channel accounting for eight per cent of all cars sold in New Zealand every year. Turners’ specialist Auctions include ex-lease, cars, trucks, plant, damaged vehicles and general goods. Turners Finance also offers finance on vehicles sold at Turners Auctions.

© Scoop Media

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